Health in Lesotho

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Life expectancy at birth in Lesotho in 2016 was 51 years for men and 55 for women.[1] Infant mortality is about 8.3%.[2] In 2006 life expectancy was estimated at 42 years for men and women.[3]

The country has the highest incidence of tuberculosis in the world.


There are five physicians per 100,000 persons.[4]

The Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Maseru, the main secondary care centre, was closed in 2011 and replaced by a newly built hospital, the Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital, with 425 beds, constructed on a public–private partnership basis. This has produced considerably better health outcomes and more advanced medical technologies than were previously available. It has also attracted patients who could have been dealt with in primary care. More than 27,000 inpatients and nearly 350,000 outpatients were treated in 2015. The scheme absorbed an average of 34.8% of the total government recurrent budget for the health sector for 2012-15. All invasive cardiac care and cancer treatment is referred to public hospitals in Bloemfontein.[5]


Lesotho is severely afflicted by HIV/AIDS and has one of the highest infection rates in the world.[6] The rate has hovered around 25 percent since 2005, although recent trends show new infections decreasing. In 2005 there were 30,000 new infections compared to 21,000 new infections in 2016.[7] In urban areas, about 50 percent of women under 40 have HIV.

The country regards HIV as one of its most important development issues, and the government is addressing the pandemic through its HIV/AIDS National Strategic Plan. Coverage of some key HIV/AIDS interventions has improved, including prevention of mother to child transmission and antiretroviral therapy. Prevention of mother to child transmission coverage increased from about 5 percent in 2005, to 31 percent in 2007. The roll-out of antiretroviral therapy has made good progress, with 38,586 people receiving treatment by 2008.[8]

The "Know Your Status" campaign boosted the number of people being tested for HIV to 229,092 by the end of 2007, 12 percent of the population and three times the number tested in 2005. The program is funded by the Clinton Foundation and started in June 2006. Bill Clinton and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates visited Lesotho in July 2006 to assess its fight against AIDS.[9] As a result, the annual rate at which adults in the population who are HIV-negative become HIV-positive declined from 2.9 percent in 2005 to 2.3 percent in 2007, lowering the estimated annual number of new infections from 26,000 to 21,560. These are the first signs of a decline in the HIV epidemic.[8]

The Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS is an industry-wide program providing prevention and treatment, including ARVs when these are necessary, for the 46,000 mainly women workers in the Lesotho apparel industry. It was launched in May 2006. The program is helping to combat two of the key drivers of the HIV/AIDS epidemic: poverty and gender inequality. Surveys within the industry by ALAFA show that 43 percent of employees have HIV.[10]

Prince Harry of UK co-founded the charity Sentebale in Lesotho, for children with HIV/AIDS. The other co-founder is the Prince of Lesotho.


  1. ^ "Lesotho". WHO. 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Sub-Saharan Africa – Lesotho". 3 September 2009. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  3. ^ Human Development Report 2009 Archived 22 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine. The United Nations. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) IAC Satellite". Médecins Sans Frontières Doctors without borders. Archived from the original on 24 October 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  5. ^ "Lesotho Health Network Public-Private Partnership (PPP)". World Bank. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  6. ^ "The World Factbook" Archived 27 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "HIV and AIDS in Lesotho". AVERT. 21 July 2015. Archived from the original on 2 October 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  8. ^ a b "World bank Lesotho: Country Brief". Archived from the original on 31 March 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  9. ^ Julian Rademeyer (16 July 2006). "Lesotho praised for fight against Aids". Sunday Times of South Africa. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  10. ^ "Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS (ALAFA)". Archived from the original on 25 February 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2012.